To: CBS Entertainment Division
From: Katie Couric
Re: Muslim Cosby Show Ideas
Hey guys. I’ve been meaning to do this for about a week, but with the assassination in Pakistan and the bombing of the Coptic church in Egypt, things have been busy over here on the news side.
I know I’m a little out of my element here, being a serious and super-well respected journalist, but I really was serious the other day when I said on air that we need a “Muslim Cosby Show.” As you guys know, that warm portrayal of a middle class African-American family in colorful sweaters did so much to cleanse this country of bigotry – that and my time on “Today” with Bryant Gumbel.
You guys are the experts at entertainment – I still can’t believe they cancelled “Dr. Vegas” – but I had a couple of ideas to run past you.
I think there are some potentially funny aspects in the sort of “East-Meets-West” culture clash of Muslims living in America. It would have a cute title like “Get Your Goat” “Main Street Madrassa” or (my fave) “The Sultan of Swanswea.” Say you have a suburban nuclear family, maybe with the addition of a grandma. Here’s a quick character run-down:
“Muhammed” He’s the dad. Not sure whether to make him a handsome journalist-type or a kind of schlubby everyman. (Great comedy idea: have him work at an airport, maybe even for the TSA.)
“Aadila” She’s the feisty, smart wife – pretty too, if we decide she shouldn’t be completely covered. There could be great comic tension in her wanting a career, to drive, or to look at male acquaintances.
“Hamid” the teenaged son who learns important life lessons from his parents (and maybe has a weakness for sneaking bacon!)
“Madiha” the precocious grade school-age daughter (I originally thought the daughter should be the teen, then you might have to go down that whole icky “honor killing” story line.)
“Mawara” The grandmother who’s just a little bit lost in this America with its technology and media and highly respected female journalists on TV. But she still has important life lessons to impart.
“Mr. Bush” The bigoted white next door neighbor, who really hates their call-to-prayer thing, and gets mad that they fire guns in the air for every family celebration. Scratch that – the neighbor would be the gun owner. In fact, his trade mark could be an NRA hat!
I was thinking of adding a sassy gay friend. What do you guys think?
I think there’s plenty of potential comedy there (think about the fun when they’re in the middle of doing important things and they suddenly have to drop on the floor and pray!) but I think the portrayal of a normal Muslim family struggling with the same things everyone else does will go a long way to helping defuse the seething hatred of anti-Muslim bigotry in this country.
And I think this is a formula that can work for other misunderstood groups. “Rasta Castle” would be about a family of dope-smuggling Jamaicans and the prejudice they encounter …